A little taste of summer!

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I just got back from a very warm, sunny, crazy week of vacation in Nevada and Arizona with my honeybee, my brother and his girlfriend.It was so much fun, I feel totally recharged! After so much snow, and rain, and cold weather here up north, a little sunshine was definitely more than welcomed. We first visited Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam, then saw the Grand Canyon and Sunset Crater Volcano, we drove through Sedona and the Tonto National Forest, hiked the Hayden Butte, and so much more! I definitely kept myself really busy, but it it was all worth it. All in all, I had an incredible vacation, and I really want to share a little bit of it with you guys, so here’s a few pictures I took – hope you like them!

FotorCreatedCanyon FotorCreatedSedona FotorCreatedSunsetCrater FotorCreatedVegas And of course, since I was going to spend a lot of time on a plane or at the airport on the way there and back, I had to start a little project to keep me busy, right? RIGHT? So I started the Estuary shawl, using some Confetti Superwash yarn from DGB I had in stash. Lucky me, a little bit of knitting here and there during the trip and some knitting time at the airport allowed me to reach the halfway mark in only a week. Yes! It’s a very easy pattern so far, very well explained with easy to follow charts and instructions.

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April novelties!

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In the last couple weeks, I got to finish two projects that have been on the needles for a while. The first one is the manly socks I made for my Honeybee, and the second one is the Seesaw Tee I test knitted for Nell Knits.

The socks were made without a pattern using some Patons Kroy Socks FX yarn my Honeybee picked out earlier this winter. I quite like the result, although I realized afterwards the two skein were not exactly the same color. Oopsy!

Manly socks

The Seesaw Tee was a pleasure to knit, really. The pattern was beautifully written, simple and very easy to understand. The sweater is worked in the round from the bottom up, with only a couple little seams to close up the armpits. It was an unexpectedly fast knit as I was expecting to complete this project towards the end of April and ended up finishing it in only a couple weeks. The yarn I used is Knit-Picks Diadem yarn in color Garnet; which has been discontinued I believe. It’s a 50/50 alpaca/silk yarn, soft as a cloud, it has a really nice drape and halo and it blocks like a charm, making it perfect for any lace projects. It is marked as a fingering weight yarn, but I would say it’s much more of a sport or DK weight, as I used 3.5mm needles and got a blocked gauge of 5 sts to an inch. I used only 2 skeins for a size medium sweater, how great is that? Two down sides though :

1) it’s a loosely spun single, so you have to expect this yarn to be (significantly) splitty

2) it  tends to shed, and I experienced a little bleeding on the first wash – nothing major though!

Other than that, I am very satisfied by both, the pattern and the yarn, and I happily wore my new sweater all day :)

Seesaw Tee

FO Friday – Obsidian Shawl

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I’m very happy today to show you the Obsidian Shawl I just finished last week-end! It’s a cute, simple lace scarf using FibraNatura Flax yarn in black, the pattern is called Lace Scarves – Challenging by OzYarn.

541580_10152773281887475_2218346746823617487_nI cannot express to you how excited I am that this shawl turned out the way it did, because I had been trying to find something to do with this yarn for such a long time that I was starting to get pretty desperate. There is quite a story to this yarn, and if you’ll allow me, I’d like to share my little experience with you.

I bought this yarn about 2 years ago and I was very excited to work with linen for the very first time in my life. Little did I know though that linen is very rough on the hands and tends to break and split a lot – I probably should have done some research before I made the purchase, but oh well! Either way, after ponding over it for some time, I decided to use it to knit the Jackson Square shawl since I had just bought the pattern and thought it was such a lovely design. It took me quite some time to get used to the pattern and the yarn, but I was able to pull it through in a couple months – and that’s where things went wrong. As I was weaving in the ends and tugging on the project gently to even out the stitches, I involuntarily got the yarn stuck on a piece of jewelry I was wearing and ripped up a big gaping hole through the top border, on the back of the neck – which turns out to be the very start of the project. I was completely horrified and did not know what to do with it or how to fix it so for the longest time, the damaged project just sat there, at the bottom of a bag in my living room.

A few months later, I finally picked it back up and resigned myself to frog the project, as I really couldn’t figure out how I could ever repair such a big gaping hole with so many broken threads. I said my goodbyes to the beautiful, delicate shawl design and decided to use the yarn to make a basic racer back tank top instead… That never saw the light of day either. Somehow, although I was very determined to get something done with this yarn, I just couldn’t find a tank top pattern that fit what I had in mind and when I tried to make one up myself it just didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would. So after much thought, I decided to frog again. A second time.

Well, as they say though, third time’s the charm and on my third try I decided to go for a pattern I have tried before (see my English Mesh Lace Scarf) and liked very, very much – and it turned out great. No ripping the yarn, no weird fitting issues and no pattern issues. Such a relief!

Have you guys ever had such experiences with a yarn frogged one too many times or a project that doesn’t turn out the way you hoped? What was your solution? Let me know in the comments down below.

Mock Cable Sweetness!

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There’s nothing that can quite compare to the feeling of accomplishment you get when finishing a big project, is there? There is a project I have been working on since early January that just recently came to an end; what was before a shapeless UFO suddenly became a beautiful garment, right before my very eyes.

What I mean is that I just finished the Evelyn Cardigan I was test-knitting for the lovely Paula Ladd, and I simply love it!

Evelyn

This mock cable design is very delicate and elegant, and it was a pleasure to knit. This cardigan is worked seamlessly from the bottom up, and stitches are picked up and knit at the end for both button bands. The only three mods I made were to add waist shaping, add length and I did not knit the last neck decrease, or else the neck would have been too tight. It was a challenge for me because I generally have trouble keeping myself motivated until the end when knitting bottom up sweaters, but I am so glad I pulled it through because the finished piece is just so beautiful!

I also recently made a set of placemats I gave to a friend as a housewarming gift, and I simply LOVE the color scheme! I think I might use the idea for a few more, and maybe a bag or two :)

placemats

And finally, I have been missing my wheel so I worked up a little spin this week. Here’s what I came up with:

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That’s it for me! What have you guys been up to, lately? What are your current projects?

Crafty Effie on Etsy!

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So… I decided to open an Etsy Shop. I know, as if I didn’t have enough projects going on already, but hear me out! I have very good reasons to explain it (or so I think)!

You guys know I’ve been complaining about how I have too much fabric remnants cluttering my apartment and too many started-but-never-finished sewing projects piling up in boxes. Well, I recently decided the best way to solve this issue was to do a little stash busting and make many, many bags, placemats and zipper pouches to try to clear out some space in my sewing room. And even though project or notions bag always come in handy for a knitter, I think there’s a limit to how many bags a single person can use – so I decided to offer my creations to other people who might enjoy them :)

So here’s the beast, there’s not a lot of items for now but I will keep adding more as I make them. Please help me out by visiting/sharing/pinning or whatever else, it would mean a lot to me! :)

http://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyEffieCreations

Thank you all!!! :)

One year already!

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blogiversaryToday, precisely a year ago, I was posting my very first blog post on Crafty Effie, yay!

Yes, I have been chewing your ears off for a year now! But you’re still here, so I guess it’s not so bad :) It’s been an amazing journey so far, and it’s all because of the readers, and the crafting community. This blogiversary puts me in a very good mood today, and I want to share the love! So as a token of my gratitude, I want to make one of you my blog Valentine and send you a little special gift! To participate, just leave a comment below before 11:59 PM this Saturday, February 14th. In your comment, please make sure you leave your email address and choose ONE WORD that describes what “Crafty Effie” is to you. International entries are welcome.

On Sunday, I’ll randomly pick one entry and contact you. Good luck all :)

WIP tour 2015 departing, all aboard!

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I have been pretty busy craft-wise in the last few weeks going from knitting and crocheting to sewing and weaving, and that translates as quite a few WIPs in the works right now. Since I haven’t blogged about any of my current projects so far, I thought it would be interesting to share with you what I’ve been up to lately.

The first WIP I want to share with you is a cute pair of lace socks I’m making using some Cascade Heritage yarn I had on hand. I improvised this design using a basic feather and fan pattern for the cuff and a simple eyelet pattern for the foot. It’s a very simple and fun pattern to knit, so when I’m done with the second sock I think I’ll publish the pattern for free on Ravelry for others to enjoy too :) Let’s share the love! FotorCreatedSince I made the lace socks for myself, I also had to make some socks for me Honeybee – you know how it goes! And since he’s a little picky about colors, I didn’t have anything in stash that suit his taste so we went yarn shopping last weekend in Burlington. He set his heart on a yarn I had never worked with before, Kroy FX sock yarn in Cadet Colors. Although I do find the yarn a little thick for a sock yarn, I must say I do like the color variations a lot. And somehow, it seems to fit the cable pattern I came up with pretty well. Another possible free sock pattern? Maybe. We’ll see :) 20150209_005250388_iOSLast month I also started a test-knit for Paula Ladd, a very nice button up cardigan with a mock cable pattern called “Evelyn“. It is a bottom up cardigan, which I don’t knit very often because experience has taught me that I generally run out of steam before reaching the the yoke. I pulled this one through though, and I finished the body today. Now I can move onto the sleeves, Yay! Although it has been slow progress, I’m still pretty pumped about it and cannot wait to see it come to life in the next few weeks!

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I also took some time in the last month to make a few sets of placemats for friends and family using some fabric I had in stash. It turned out pretty good, and something is telling me I might make some more this month! FotorCreated2Last but not least, I have 3 friends of mine who are pregnant or recently gave birth, so I have been a little baby-crazy in the last few weeks. Lots of things to share in the picture below! The gray rectangle on the bottom is a baby blanket in the making, using some Bernat Baby Coordinates yarn I had in stash. This pattern looks so cute! On the right is the fabric I’ll be using for a special home/dec project for a little girl’s nursery. On the top left is a few 2/8 cotton bobbins for a couple baby wraps I’ll be weaving in the next few weeks and on the top right corner is the cutest book I found for crochet toys… I think I’ll try my hand at it in a couple weeks time. hehehe :)

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That’s it for me, what have you guys been up to lately?